“Relying on Mr. Ishii for survival: Behind the scenes of the comeback of K-1 founder in a precarious situation.” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

“Relying on Mr. Ishii for survival: Behind the scenes of the comeback of K-1 founder in a precarious situation.”

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Yoshiaki Ishii with a big smile on his face at a party after the World GP final in December 2002. Two months later, he was arrested (December 27, ’02 issue).

Kazuyoshi Ishii, 70, the founder and first producer of K-1 and the director of Shodokaikan, will return as an advisor.

On January 19, Mr. Ishii appeared with K-1 producer Carlos Kikuta at a press conference for “K-1 WORLD MAX” to be held on March 20 in Tokyo. Although his hair had whitened somewhat and he looked like time had passed, the sharp look in his eyes and the healthy tanned face were still the same as in the past.

I want K-1 to return to being the world’s K-1 again, since I founded K-1. I would like to offer various advice to help K-1 become the K-1 of the world.

He expressed his enthusiasm. A former K-1 official who runs a martial arts gym commented on the decision,

I guess they had no choice but to rely on Director Ishii for the continuation of the gym. To be honest, I feel that he was the only choice.

The situation seems to be complicated. In 1980, Mr. Ishii became independent from Kyokushinkaikan and established the New Japan Karatedo Federation Shodo-Kaikan. He has produced Masaaki Satake and Musashi, who later became stars in the early days of “K-1. In 1993,

In 1993, based on the concept of “holding a tournament to determine the world’s best fighters in the world of striking-based standing martial arts such as karate and kickboxing,” he established the Karate and Kickboxing Federation Shodo-Kaikan.

K-1 was founded based on the concept of “holding a tournament to determine the world’s best fighter in standing combat sports such as karate, kickboxing, kung fu, and kung-fu. The first tournament, “K-1 GRAN PRIX ’93 – $100,000 Fighting World’s Strongest Tournament” was held on April 30, 1993, and featured a tournament of eight fighters in the non-discriminatory weight class.

In the following 10 years, he led the so-called “martial arts boom. The “K-1WORLD MAX” series was launched in 2002 for the middleweight (-70 kg) division, and fighters such as Maasato and Buacao became stars. Buacao and others became stars.

The “K-1 WORLD GP 2002 Final” held at the Tokyo Dome in December of the same year drew a record attendance of 74500 people. It is said that Ishii’s network of sponsors from all over the world and his personal connections that bring in influential fighters are all due to his power” (editor of a martial arts magazine).

However, in 2002, Ishii was found to have concealed ¥500 million in income over a two-year period. In February 2003, he was arrested on charges of tax evasion and abetting the destruction of evidence amounting to 170 million yen (for violation of the Corporate Tax Law).

Mr. Ishii admitted to making money behind the scenes and explained that he used the money to pay the players’ high salaries. Although not all of the money was used for such purposes, it is a fact that he was bribing foreign fighters and others with tens of millions of yen in cash,” said the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor at the time.

(Tokyo District Prosecutor at the time) Even though he made K-1 big in his own lifetime, we cannot help but rely on a person who has been away from the front lines for a long time after his release from prison in 2008…. Was K-1 in such a crisis of survival? A former K-1 official asked, “K-1 has been in a crisis of survival for the past few years,

In the past few years, K-1 has relied heavily on stars such as Takeson and Rukiya Anbo. The fights other than those by these fighters were more entertainment oriented, and during that time, K-1 neglected to discover new fighters. After these stars gave up on K-1 and K-1 lost them, a generational shift failed.

All promising foreign fighters have been taken by RIZIN and ONE, and we cannot call them. If you are looking for someone who can do that, you will always have to rely on Mr. Ishii. So it seems we had no choice but to ask him to return. There is still the question of compliance, but since there is no terrestrial broadcasting now, it seems that it was not considered a problem.

He explained the situation to us.

For SNS,

What’s the point now?

Some people say, “It’s a different time and audience than 20 years ago, so why can’t they handle it?

But Mr. Ishii says, “I want to show the real martial arts,

However, Mr. Ishii created K-1 with the desire to “show the real martial arts.

However, Mr. Ishii created K-1 with the desire to “show the real martial arts,

“I want K-1 to become the K-1 of the world.

At a recent press conference, he said, “I want K-1 to become the K-1 of the world.

At the February 8 press conference, when asked about the prize money for the March 20 tournament, Ishii replied, “It would have to be around 100 million,

I think it would have to be about 100 million dollars.

He then began, “It would have to be about 100 million dollars,

The money is one thing, but being the first champion will spread my name around the world,” he said. The fight money would then suddenly increase about 10 times. I think that is the biggest advantage for the fighters.

He said with great enthusiasm, but I wonder if Mr. Ishii has the power to raise funds for promising fighters…. Will the new K-1, which has chosen to “return to its roots,” turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing?

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